Extraordinarily exclusive.

ISABELLA, ARTIST EXTRAORDINAIRE

A child can’t decide how to spend her day but takes inspiration from her love of art.

Isabella is content to spend her day off from school at home with her stuffed toy mouse, but her parents try to find alternate activities. Their discussion about possible places to visit and things to do is embedded with fine-art references that are also depicted and referenced in the illustrations. When Isabella’s mother asks, “[H]ow about the park?” Isabella responds, “Let me THINK about it,” and digital art depicts her as a statue in a pose similar to Rodin’s The Thinker that’s being carved by her now-anthropomorphized, sentient toy. Subsequent spreads reveal 10 other references to fine art, all but one of which are by white men. Mary Cassatt’s The Boating Party is the exception, in a spread depicting Isabella and her parents in a rowboat as she says, “A BOAT PARTY would be fun….But it’s awfully chilly today.” The exclusivity is enough to make readers “SCREAM” like Munch’s subject in another painting referenced in the book. At the end, Isabella invites her parents to see a museum of her own making, and they admire pictures on her bedroom wall inspired by the referenced art pieces, which are then identified in backmatter.

Extraordinarily exclusive. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7264-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here.

ONE LOVE

A sugary poem, very loosely based on the familiar song, lacks focus.

Using only the refrain from the original (“One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right!”), the reggae great’s daughter Cedella Marley sees this song as her “happy song” and adapts it for children. However, the adaptation robs it of life. After the opening lines, readers familiar with the original song (or the tourism advertisement for Jamaica) will be humming along only to be stopped by the bland lines that follow: “One love, what the flower gives the bee.” and then “One love, what Mother Earth gives the tree.” Brantley-Newton’s sunny illustrations perfectly reflect the saccharine quality of the text. Starting at the beginning of the day, readers see a little girl first in bed, under a photograph of Bob Marley, the sun streaming into her room, a bird at the window. Each spread is completely redundant—when the text is about family love, the illustration actually shows little hearts floating from her parents to the little girl. An image of a diverse group getting ready to plant a community garden, walking on top of a river accompanies the words “One love, like the river runs to the sea.”

Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0224-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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THE GRUFFALO

The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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